British-based South African eventer Alexander Peternell said his Olympic selection was “tinged with sadness” after learning he will ride in the Olympic competition, that starts on Saturday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has forced the South African Olympic committee to nominate him for London, after it initially chose another rider.
Mr Peternell appealed after the South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF) chose Paul Hart to ride as an individual at the Games – even though he is 278 places lower than Mr Peternell in the FEI rankings
CAS ruled on Monday (23 July) that Mr Peternell should have been chosen. The SAEF responded saying it would send no one.
However a second appeal by Mr Peternell has led to CAS yesterday (25 July) insisting he must go to Greenwich.
Tubby Reddy of the South African Olympic association (SASCOC) said: “It is indeed a very sad day for us as a country to be instructed to select an athlete into Team South Africa against our will, but being a disciplined member of the Olympic Movement we have no option but to adhere fully to this decision.
“It is with regret that one of our loyal countrymen, Paul Hart has to bear the brunt of this sad situation,” he added.
Mr Peternell, is the first South African rider to have competed at Burghley, and the only South African to have completed both Badminton and Burghley.
He will be the sole South African rider at the Olympics.
He said: “I am thrilled to be fulfilling a life-long ambition; to have secured the opportunity to compete at the Olympics.
“It is with great pride that I shall do so; but my selection is tinged with sadness, given that it required an intense legal challenge to deliver it.
“It has become increasingly frustrating but now at last I can, albeit with only hours to spare, compete for my country.”